Education has the power to transform lives on an individual basis. This transformation results from diversity in education that is beliefs, ideas, and experiences. It transforms culture and renews our mind. Every time one person is transformed, that transformation carries on to the next until a whole community is changed for the better. I myself was transformed when my parents decided that they would do whatever they could to get me a proper education. It wasn’t easy for them and money was always a struggle. This was at a time where it wasn’t common for girls to learn more than basic reading and writing skills. My parents’ support saw me go all the way to university and break the cycle which holds so many in Kenya back. Education took the girl who didn’t even own a pair of shoes until she was 12 all the way to the Australian Senate.
Over the last thousand years, the world has been improved and transformed by the progress and enlightenment of education. It is important to remember that the Church established the modern university system to enable people to receive higher education. Science, medicine, law and humanities as we see them today all owe a debt of gratitude to the establishment of those first universities many centuries ago. Some of us, who grew up in Africa, went to church-based schools - it was the part of the main education system. Education was the only way out of poverty.
Today marks the 71st anniversary of Alphacrucis College. It is significant that Alphacrucis retains the focus it began with – that is, a Christian-based educational institution offering a higher level of education with campuses in many states including, my home state of South Australia. This is the only Christian college with campuses all over Australia. It is worth noting that despite Christians in Asia-Pacific region, there is no Pentecostal University in the region.
The focus has now become more important, as Alphacrucis is making the transition from college to university. This is a crucial step and resembles the goal of the first universities started by the Church a thousand years ago. It would serve Australians and the whole Asia Pacific region – not to mention the whole world as International students stampede the few places afforded by this great step.
Alphacrucis is one of the longest standing Christian colleges in Australia. It is time to turn this institution into a University! This is a huge achievement worthy of note. Each year, over 3,500 students attend the college. Students come not only from Australia but also from overseas.
Alphacrucis plays a significant role in excellence of academic performance. Currently, Alphacrucis ranks higher in the quality of a student’s educational experience at 84.4%. This is higher than all the Group of 8 universities.
It is important to note that Alphacrucis is the official training college for the Australian Christian Churches. The Pentecostal Church has risen in numbers by around 30% in the last 10 years. Alphacrucis has helped in that growth by putting out well trained Christian ministers and workers who are able to take the Christian message into the community.
With that much growth in the Pentecostal church in Australia, you could be mistaken for thinking that there are many Pentecostal universities educating Christians. The truth is, in the entire Asia-Pacific region, there is not one single Pentecostal university – only colleges. In South East Asia region alone, there are currently 130 million Pentecostals. This is why it is important for Alphacrucis to be the first college to transform into a university in our region. The ripple effect of this socio-economic move is beyond human comprehension.
This transformation will also have a crucial role in the way Christians move into leadership. Our country needs to regain its values and Christian heritage and one way of doing this will be through the engagement of more Christians in leadership and politics. Our constitution and laws are based on Judeo-Christian values. To be precise, it is “the love your neighbour” principle we see in the teachings of the Bible.
Well, back to my story for a moment. Most of you would know my how I became a Senator. It wasn’t without many struggles and the case ending up in the High Court. My faith rested in God who overcame the trials I faced and this helped me to focus on what was right. My goal as a Senator of Australia is always to put my Christian faith before me in any situation. Since then, I have come to realise that Christians in Australia need to have a much greater understanding and engagement with politics. Our nation needs to see leaders who reflect Biblical values of service, truth and justice.
It is critical that Alphacrucis becomes a university as soon as possible. By the college becoming a university, there will be a greater impact of the quality of Christian-based higher education in Australia which will lead to a transformation of our nation.
Senator Lucy opened the new Capital Grants Program funded facilities at Trinity College, Gawler River on Sunday 8 April 2018.
Read her speech here.
Senator Lucy was sent by the Australian Government to participate in the Kenyan Post Election Seminar. The seminar was held by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association which covers Commonwealth nations across the world. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss how Kenya can improve their own political system by drawing on the experience of other Commonwealth nations.
Senator Lucy was asked to present a session on the topic of the welfare of the nation balanced with routine politics. You can read her speech here.